Solar wind
speed: 417.8 km/sec
density: 8.6 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0902 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
0744 UT Jul17
24-hr: A4
0004 UT Jul17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 0800 UT
Daily Sun: 17 July 18
The sun is blank-- no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Jul 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 20 days
2018 total: 107 days (54%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)

2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

Updated 17 Jul 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 72 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Jul 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0902 UT
Coronal Holes: 17 Jul 18

Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on July 20-21. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds in he northern hemisphere is underway. Check here daily for the latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 07-16-2018 12:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Jul 16 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2018 Jul 16 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

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AMOST THREE WEEKS WITHOUT SUNSPOTS: The sun is without spots for the 20th straight day. To find an equal stretch of blank suns, you have to go all the way back to September of 2009 when the sun was emerging from the deepest solar minimum in a century. The current stretch of spotlessness is a sign that the sun is entering another solar minimum, possibly as deep as the last one. Stay tuned. Free: Aurora Alerts.

RED SPRITES OVER THE USA: Around Earth's northern hemisphere, thunderstorm season is in full swing. That means it's a great time to see sprites.  Paul Smith photographed these specimens on July 14th:

"I was at Kaw Lake in Oklahoma when the sprites started leaping up from the thunderheads," says Smith.

Sprites are an exotic form of upward-directed lightning, reaching from the tops of electrical storms all the way up to the edge of space. Because they emerge from the tops of storms, the best place to see sprites is from a distance where the camera can point over the edge of the thunderhead.

"I was about 140 miles from the storm in Kansas that produced these sprites," says Smith. This weather map shows the location of his camera (blue pushpin) and where it was pointing (blue arrow):

People have been seeing sprites since at least the 19th century, but the first reports were met with skepticism. Sprites entered the mainstream in 1989 when researchers from the University of Minnesota finally captured them on film. Subsequent video footage from the space shuttle cemented their status as an authentic physical phenomenon.

In recent years, citizen scientists like Smith have been photographing sprites in record numbers. One reason is raised awareness. More photographers know about sprites, so more sprites are being photographed. Another reason might be a genuine increase in sprite activity. Some researchers think that sprites are linked to cosmic rays. Subatomic particles from deep space strike the top of Earth's atmosphere, producing secondary electrons that trigger the upward bolts. Cosmic rays are now intensifying due to the decline of the solar cycle. More sprites, anyone?

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

FLY ME TO THE MOONSTONE: Are you looking for a far-out gift? Nothing says "I love you" like a moonstone from the edge of space. On June 12th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew this moonstone wrapped in a sterling silver Celtic love knot 34.1 km (111,877 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $119.95. The students are selling these pendants to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. Sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales support hands-on STEM education


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery



Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


  All Sky Fireball Network
Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.

On Jul. 16, 2018, the network reported 30 fireballs.
(29 sporadics, 1 psi Cassiopeid)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

  Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On July 17, 2018 there were 1912 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 NF1
2018-Jul-12
18.1 LD
10.8
38
2018 NW1
2018-Jul-14
9.9 LD
9.2
29
2018 ND4
2018-Jul-14
12.7 LD
11.9
35
2018 NV2
2018-Jul-15
10.1 LD
15.1
42
2018 NM
2018-Jul-17
1.4 LD
6.7
19
2018 NL4
2018-Jul-18
10.4 LD
12.7
51
2018 NQ1
2018-Jul-19
16.4 LD
6
32
2018 NE1
2018-Jul-21
10.1 LD
14.2
81
2018 NF4
2018-Jul-21
18.8 LD
12.8
112
2018 NR1
2018-Jul-27
17.1 LD
5.1
37
2018 LQ2
2018-Aug-27
9.4 LD
1.5
39
2016 GK135
2018-Aug-28
16.8 LD
2.8
9
2016 NF23
2018-Aug-29
13.3 LD
9
93
1998 SD9
2018-Aug-29
4.2 LD
10.7
51
2018 DE1
2018-Aug-30
15.2 LD
6.5
28
2001 RQ17
2018-Sep-02
19.3 LD
8.3
107
2015 FP118
2018-Sep-03
12.3 LD
9.8
490
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 13% since 2015:


Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

  Essential web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
NOAA 27-Day Space Weather Forecasts
  fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong.
Aurora 30 min forecast
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
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